Monthly Archives: December 2010

A break from the silence

I interrupt your regularly scheduled holiday blog silence to wish my loveliest wife the happiest birthday.

Happy birthday, wife!!

Here are a few reasons she’s awesome:

  • She’s really quite cute.
  • She’s a good cuddler, especially when it’s cold out or when I am feeling sad.
  • She’s always on my side at the end of the day, even if we bickered for all of the day.  We are always, always on the same team.
  • She’s funny and always ready to be silly with me.
  • She encourages me to be my best self.
  • She makes my life better in all the ways.



Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

The End/I’m always covered in fur

So my last day of work was last Friday and for some reason I expected some downtime.  Did I already talk about this?  It’s all sort of a whirlwind of craziness.  The plus side is that I do need to eat but I don’t have time to shop, so tonight I threw a bunch of ingredients we had around the house (canned beans, frozen veggies, soy “hamburger”, some herbs) into our slow cooker and things smell delicious.  Sadly, it still needs another 20 minutes to cook slowly, so I thought I’d pop in and say Hello! I’m not missing!  I am just, once again, terribly (wonderfully?) covered in other people’s cats.

us, covered in our own animals. I promise these are our only cats. We are not crazy cat ladies... though I think becoming a crazy dog lady is not a bad goal.

Also sadly, it seems that this trend of being covered in other people’s pets (or feeding and cleaning up after other people’s pets) will continue for the rest of 2010, and I am not going to have the time I would like to dedicate to thoughtful blogging.  Lucky for me, many of you have time off of work and so will not be hoping my blog has new content so that you can procrastinate.

So, my friends, here’s to the new year a few days early!  Thank you to my faithful readers; even though I don’t know who most of you are, I appreciate knowing that you’re out there reading.  And thank you to the regular commenters for helping me feel like I’m saying something worth saying.  Lastly, thank you to those of you who have approached me in person or emailed to say you like what’s happening over here: it always seems to come when I need it most.  You all make this worth doing.

Happy New Year!  And Merry Christmas, if that’s your thing, and also happy birthday to me, my wife, and my dad.  See you next year!  No, seriously, I’ll be back in full swing 1/1/11.  Hooray!




Filed under other

My Pre-furred State of Being

I have spent my entire life wanting to be a veterinarian when I grow up.  I think there was a month or two when I was about thirteen or fourteen when I was really active in my church, and for those two months I considered that maybe I wanted to be a UU minister.  Well, when that month or two was over, I was back to wanting to be a vet.


again, me in my Preferred State of Being: covered in dogs

I started working at a local vet clinic when I was fifteen, and never really stopped after that.  In high school I went abroad for six months and obviously could not keep my job while I was on the other side of the world, but no worries!  I found a Clinica Veterinaria where I happily worked every Saturday morning.  When I returned to the states, it was back to work at the hospital, and after not working with animals for one measly semester in college, I never took a break again until my first real-life job.  I decided to take a break from veterinary medicine and try something a little more human oriented.  I thought maybe animals weren’t my thing anymore… after a year and a half of rape crisis work, I went back to the dogs (and cats and rats and bunnies and birds… you get the idea).


Me in Chile circa 2002. No, I didn't medically treat these llamas, but I may have tried to hug them.

The big thing that I didn’t do in all of this time was actually finish my classes to apply to vet school.  Every year I have said, “This year I’ll finally take X so that I can get my application in for next fall,” and every year something comes up: I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I refuse to skip my honeymoon so I can take the first Organic Chem exam.  Not the worst excuses, but finally I realized something.

I don’t think I want to be a vet.

That said, I do (of course!) still appreciate a face-in-cat situation. Even if the cat is slightly perturbed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing to leave my job at the cat clinic and wondering what would come next.  I put together a list of the things I have loved about all of the veterinary medicine work I have done in the last almost-11 years (seriously, almost 11 years? Crazy!):

  1. Working with people and animals. One or the other doesn’t quite cut it for me.
  2. Troubleshooting with people about their animals, a la, How can we get your cat to take its pill? How can we help you transition a new pet into the house? How can we get your cat more active or your dog more engaged? etc)
  3. Working with the same people over time, and getting to know clients. I love recognizing people when they come in; I love that they know me by name and that I know them well enough to stop and say hello around town.

The thing I realized is that none of this is specific to medicine. So… here goes something else?  Monday was my first day of officially no longer having a full time job.  Of course, I still got up at 6:30, dropped my wife off at the bus, took the dog for a run through the woods, and then went to my volunteer position at a wildlife sanctuary.  As I pulled up to my driveway after all of that, I glanced up and there was a bald eagle flying over our house.

(this is not the actual eagle, but this is what it actually looked like)

I’m seeing hope around every corner.  Here I am, knowing that I’m on the edge of something big, and feeling like I’m waiting for it to materialize in front of me.  I have a petsitting business and a domain name – could I someday expand this to a training/behavior business?  Do I go back to school for something awesome?  Does someone reading this know exactly what all the signs point to?


Filed under Menagerie, Vet school

Tradition… tradition!

Tonight begins our first Crazy Intense Holiday Celebration Week While Married.  Writing that sentence was sort of overwhelming, and the festivities haven’t even started yet.

Holidays this year are a little funky.  In years past, we have trekked the 30 minutes to my parents’ house and gathered there with my parents and brother (all of whom lived there) and my sister and her boyfriend (who definitely did not live there).  This year, things are a little different, and we are hosting!  Whoa, hello there, Being a Grownup, I think I was entirely unprepared for your arrival.  But sure, pull up a seat and feel free to go through anything in the fridge.  Yes, help yourself.  I can handle you because I am now a Grownup and can make up the rules about what time of day I get to start drinking.

Being a Grownup


Since the arrival of the holidays amidst a fractured family can really emphasize what’s missing, my lovely wife and I decided that we need to embrace some new traditions.  One of them we realized we already have: Solstice.

Solstice is the shortest day of the year, and this year there is also an eclipse.  Exciting!  Last year – and now this year as well – we are staying at the Inn of Wedding Fame, and then tomorrow we will go for our annual walk in the woods.  We exchange a couple of small gifts, spend a lot of time reading in front of the fireplace at the inn, and enjoy a lot of good tea.  It’s nothing fancy, there’s not a lot involved, but it does feel sacred.

The second new tradition?  Ornaments.  Not just the Gayest Snow(wo)man Ornament, which maybe should be a tradition, but this year we begin exchanging ornaments.  Can’t show you anything yet, since it’s still a secret from Turtle, but this is one I’m excited about.

And the tradition we are still struggling to sort out: our birthdays.  Mine is the 27th, hers is the 28th, my dad’s is the 29th, and my brother’s is January 6th.  This does not leave much recovery time.  Quick! Find traditions for EVERY DAY for a WEEK, stat.

New Tradition: Being Covered in Dogs

What are your holiday traditions?  What do you wish they were?  If you’re married, have you made up new ones with your new baby family?


Filed under Home, other

Stylin’ it up (or not)

Yesterday, my inability to get dressed reached a disastrous peak, resulting in an entire futon covered in clothes that I will probably never wear, my running around the house in a pair of tights, a pair of shoes, and a vest (and that’s it), and a few realizations. Before I tell you about my realizations, please enjoy a glimpse into my morning:

Turtle: Oh. My.
Me (panicking because of her tone… did the cat, who we thought was all better, throw up everywhere?): What?!
Her: You really did explode all over the study.

Point being: I really did cover the ENTIRE FUTON in clothes. Stacked clothes.  It’s impressive, you guys.

Anyway, I gained some general insight into my life in the process. Realization number one: I have a lot of clothes that I just don’t need.  And that don’t fit me or aren’t appropriate for pretty much any situation I need clothes for.

Number two: my style, in its natural, unselfconscious-state, seems to be much dykier than my conscious state often allows it to be. While maybe the dresses that I have do look pretty on me, I feel ridiculous in them.  I feel like I’m playing dress up; I feel sort of silly and floofy and like I’m “faking it,” and at any moment someone will be like, “You! You’re not a real grownup! Go sit at the kids table with your frilly sleeves.” But put on a button down shirt with a sweater over it? Nice.

For example, this dress does look pretty on me! But I felt ridiculous in it. REE-DICULOUS.

But! Look how cute I look in my little vest thing here! So cute! Also, so comfortable.

Number three: I need new clothes. Because apparently it’s not comfortable or really appropriate to wear my wedding suit for every semi- or formal event I go to.  Hence the vague panic last night.  Part of the challenge, though, is that I don’t know what I want, and I don’t know what I need it for.  I could find something I like… but is it for an interview? For hanging out with friends? Can I really justify that purchase?

I feel like I showed up late to the game that all the other kids learned the rules to a lot time ago.  It seems like everyone else can just get dressed and – shazam! – they look good.  And they make it look comfortable and easy.  I, on the other hand, spend an hour and half throwing clothes around the room and end up wearing the only outfit I had in the first place.

my best wedding outfit: shirt untucked, pants rolled up, CHACOS. And the best friend who occasionally helps me clothe myself via Google Chat. Thanks, friend.

I feel stuck.  Where do you get your clothes? Does anyone else have an impossible time getting dressed on a regular basis? And, um, does anyone want to go clothes shopping with me?


Filed under other

In Which the Prettiest Cat in the World Scares Us

Remember when I talked about how getting through the hard stuff is how I knew my wife was the one?  Well, let me just say: Thanks, Universe, for the reminder.  She has been the best through all of the stuff that’s been going on for the last week, even though she’s the only person I can take it all out on.  I have been incredibly grateful for that, for how she’s still here and still being supportive even if I am snippy with her about leaving piles around the house.  Because, you guys, she DOES leave piles around the house.  They’re just, uh, next to my piles, so really I have absolutely no ground to stand on on this one.

Well, last night I realized that it’s not just that she’s there to prop me up when things get hard.  Last night I realized what a team we are, and how much we can do together.

Last night, the Prettiest Cat in the World started vomiting, so Turtle called me at work to ask me about it.  Thanks, Piper, for doing this while I am still employed! Nice job!  I was all, “Oh, no biggie if it’s just once or twice, just keep an eye on her, she probably ate too fast.”  Word of advice: ask questions first, gently dismiss your wife later, only after considering the evidence.

“Bird! It wasn’t once or twice or food.  It’s been six or seven times.”

That’s a lot of times.  I went home after work and we gave her pepcid and tried to give her fluids (turns out The Prettiest Cat in the World is also the Sharpest, Pointiest, and Most Stubborn Cat in the World), and then we decided to get ready for bed.

And then The Prettiest Cat in the World started vomiting blood.

We ended up taking her to work, where my awesome vet met with us and took a look at her and helped us give her fluids.  It was questionable whether she had anything in her stomach, but she stopped vomiting, and we decided to watch her overnight and go to an emergency clinic if it seemed to get worse.  This morning, she woke me up asking for food and is very upset that I won’t give her any.  Not as upset as she’ll be when she realizes we’re going back to the vet for a recheck.  Muah! Ha! Ha!

What I a grateful for in this whole thing, besides an awesome vet who is willing to go back to work at 10pm, is an awesome wife who is just the best partner.  There was no arguing, no “you do X, I’m busy doing Y!”, no questioning what we needed to do.  It was just, “Okay, we have to make sure things are okay. Let’s go.” mixed with a lot of reassuring (“Well, maybe we WILL spend all night at the emergency clinic, but it’s going to be okay.”) and a few jokes (“This is what happens when we try to go to bed on time.  We’ll be fine if we plan to stay up ALL NIGHT.”).  We got home and we made things happen.  Turtle learned how to squeeze a bag of fluids to make them run faster.  I learned that Piper is the BEST cat to xray.  Even if she did try to bite me when I tried to give her fluids.

I think this picture accurately captures our relationship: I hug her, she tries to turn invisible.

Has anything happened lately that has reminded you of how awesome your significant other is?


Filed under Menagerie, Relationships

Across the Shoreline: What This Would Mean

Our vows were something of a production in the making.  We originally thought we would write them together, but that ended in both of us snapping at each other and one of us walking away (um, that one might have been me. Might have been.).  We eventually decided that we would write them on our own and then compare… and that evolved into “Our vows are a secret to be revealed on our wedding day! And also it’s a contest – most tears elicited wins!”

The contest part was mostly a joke.

We both spent a lot of time scouring the internet for inspiration, and sharing a lot of the inspiration we found.  While we did look at a lot of people’s vows to each other, the ones we came up with were ours, and because of the sacredness of them, I am not going to share them all here.  But! I will share some of them.

“Turtle, 11 months ago, after you finally agreed to marry me, I sat down outside and thought about what this would mean, and here is some of what I wrote:

I know it won’t always be like THIS, it won’t always be the way it is right now, and things change over years and decades.  But I think we could always have this important place for each other, and we could always value each other this way, and have whatever adventures we are having together – in Massachusetts or Oregon or New Hampshire or New York.  With one dog or five… or, fine, just two.  It’s amazing and wonderful and lucky that we can both live the lives that we have individually dreamed about and they can fit together so perfectly, almost make the other’s POSSIBLE, almost fill in the spots we maybe didn’t realize were empty to start with.  I feel blessed to have you.

“Today, I, Bird, take you, Turtle, to be my wife, and, in doing so, I take you to be my partner, friend, and closest family…

“I promise to rejoice with you in the good times and to struggle with you in the bad… I promise to support you and to have faith in you… and to give thanks for you always.

“I realize that we will grow and change in our life together… I promise that I will return to the words we are saying to each other here today and to try always to live by them.  I will be my best self for you, for me, and for us… I am proud from this day forward to be called your wife.”

Then it was Turtle’s turn.

“Bird, you are the sweetest part of my day… Today, I ask you to be my truest companion, my cherished partner, and my wife.

“I promise to love you when love is simple and when love is complex.  I promise to create with you a home filled with joy, kindness, respect, and comfort.  Our home will be abundant with experiences that have shaped – and will always shape – our shared life:  more tea than we could ever hope to drink, a porch filled with plants in various states of aliveness, falling asleep on the couch, figuring out who takes out the dog and who feeds the cats, stopping whatever separate tasks we are engrossed in to dance around the kitchen, and all the other adventures that make up this blessing that is our life.”

AND THEN. I debated not stopping her, my beautiful about-to-be wife, in the middle of her vows.  But then I realized that I couldn’t not stop her: I don’t remember what I said, because I felt bad about interrupting, but I said something and I grabbed her arms as a beautiful hawk flew right over our heads.

I can’t express how powerful this moment was.  The hawk was much closer than you see it in this picture; it was right there.  It felt like a wonderful, beautiful blessing from the world.

After a few minutes, we all recollected ourselves and continued:

“I am unspeakably blessed that I have found my home in you and that one part of our journey has ended and another one begun.”

Turtle’s vows were, I think, the part of the ceremony for which I was most present.  I did not want to miss a word, an ounce of meaning, a look in her eye.  I soaked up those vows.  Funny, though, I also kept thinking, “Ooh, that is GOOD! I should have said that!”

I was going to tell you what my favorite line of her vows were… but I went back and read them again and realized I would have to post all of it, every word.  Each line is full of meaning, intention, and *us*.  I am so lucky, you guys.

How did your vow-writing go, or how do you see it going?  Did you/will you share beforehand, or surprise each other on your wedding day?


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement